Tag Archives: Vulnerability

Awareness of Pain: Armor-What I Don’t Show You

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I am always amazed by the people who really see me as well as occasionally saddened by those who don’t.

Fortunately, my dear friend Teri and my children do. There are also those out there with whom I have shared an intensive or little more than blog posts who also see.

I came to an understanding this morning that there are those who won’t. To see past what I show is too uncomfortable.

What I show most often is passion, sensuality, frustration and anger with delight and compassion thrown in for good measure. What I will rarely agree to show you is pain. If you’re looking, as my friend shared with me yesterday, you will see it lurking behind the anger. What she understands better than possibly anyone is why.

So after a heart-twisting conversation, I’ve been sitting with this pain. And it is fucking uncomfortable. For me it’s the internal, emotional version of a “crick” in my neck and no matter how I hold my head I am to turn the volume down or get comfortable.

We opened a box yesterday and I would like to close it and be acceptably functional. I won’t. So I’m sitting here in my beautiful, beautiful family room, no tv on, windows open and soft waves of sound coming in from traffic and birds. It’s perfectly gorgeous  out and I’m sitting here rummaging around in what feels like grief stew. It rolls through me and when it gets to the top it brings tears that I am allowing despite an angry desire to refuse them liberation. I’m angry that I still have tears. I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of unresolved wounds and if you’ve ever been where I am you know that when I use the word “tired” it comes from sensation.

Anyone who has ever spent more than 5 minutes with me knows that I am expressive. I am emotionally accessible and I am aware of what I share. For all my awareness, and perhaps because of my degree of awareness I knew exactly where and how to hide the pain so that I wouldn’t have to look at it too often.

Unresolved pain builds armor.

I am well-armored and until last night I wasn’t willing to see why. I “couldn’t” understand why I’ve been doing all this work over the years and I can’t seem to release this armor. This armor and I are great friends – as was spoken in one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, “great and terrible” friends. We’re so close that it arrives automatically. I have become aware of it’s comings and goings, and  I can release it once it’s here. I sense its arrival but I have yet given myself the freedom to prevent it from arriving. Now that I am willing to be in the origins of the armor, I can become more and more attuned to it’s arrival and be able to choose when and if I want it at all.

Learning to live in a place in which I am not wallowing in pain and building armor. Nor am I pushing it down with excuses – “she/he didn’t mean anything”, “I’m too sensitive”, “if I just stick it out, things will change.”

Trust. Vulnerability. Risk. Shedding my armor.

To live my purpose without apology, excuse, fear of exclusion or approval.

Awareness gives me wings.

Permission to Be Exactly Where I Am

From time to time my son tells me that I am well-preserved! That’s his way of saying that I look pretty good for my age.

I don’t know about look, but I have been saying how young I feel in my body. This morning, 2 days after my Feldenkrais® session, I’m still moving like I haven’t been able to in several years.

I had gotten used to the pain and the diminishing range of motion.

A few minutes ago I sat down to send an email and realized I’d left the contact info on the kitchen counter. I popped up to get it and a virtual anvil smacked me right in the head:

Monday morning if I’d sat down and realized I didn’t have what I needed, I would have groaned internally at having to get up again and exerted the familiar effort to stand (forcing my hip flexors to lengthen against their will). Then I’d wonder how much of a stride I was going to get and how much was it going to hurt this time (not if, but how much). All this is in a split second of processing.

This time I know the quick processing was there but I didn’t mind a bit getting up again – I actually was kind of excited to do it. With ease. With so little effort. With no pain. Like I really don’t feel the effects of age.

I was aware of the changes that were taking place, but I had lost perspective on the scope.

This newly recovered ease isn’t free. While I’ve always been very present to my body, I am even more so through this experience. I want to remain in it for as long as possible. In other words I want to prolong the beautiful side effects of this treatment for as long as I can. It isn’t free, but I am absolutely thrilled to be doing the work!

I have a sense that my loss of perspective speaks not only the condition of my body but how I condition myself to view the condition of the world. How many times can you say “condition” in one sentence?! Ha! I think I’m going to leave it as it is…

With the upcoming elections, I know that I must look past beliefs that I’ve settled in with. Over the last two or three years I brought myself out of my political safe place. Like in my body,  I’ve been getting by – but do I want to just get by? I needed to make changes and there are changes in the world that need to be made.

To create change, I have to put something out there. Until very recently I kept my work mostly to myself. I’m an introvert and while I’m very warm and fuzzy on the inside, people don’t necessarily pick that up for awhile! I am a work in progress, how can I share what isn’t finished? I’m not accomplished or successful as culture defines it. I haven’t won any awards. I haven’t created a “method” – yet. I’m not on tv and I haven’t written a book. What if I put something out there and I’m wrong? What if I put something out there and it doesn’t work?

First, I started to tell myself what I’ve told other Nia teachers: the work does not have to be perfect for you to begin to offer it to your classes. It does have to be moving forward, but to wait for perfection may mean that the work never gets out there. Thank you, Stephaney Robinson.

Next, I accepted the fact that when I share in collaboration I learn more stuff. Often this “stuff” fills in some gaps I have and I like to think that maybe some of the “stuff” I share fills in someone else’s gaps. Rather than looking at someone else’s gifts and accomplishments as evidence that I am not enough – what I didn’t do, don’t have, can’t get, blah-blah-blah-Ginger – I’m now looking for balance. How can we nourish each other?

I have become fully aware that relationships – any and all relationships, are not about the 50/50 split. Ever. If I’m busy “keeping score” and thinking about who’s given or done more when the relationship has an organic ebb and flow balance, I’m going to miss the beauty. I’m going to miss the richness that is the person with whom I am dancing. Unless a relationship is completely and constantly out of balance – and it is possible to throw an organic flow out of balance by the anxiety and fear of keeping score – why not give it room for the ebbs and flows?

So how did I get to this point from giving you an update on my treatment?

My treatment results reminded me that I had lost perspective. I had accepted less than what was possible. Resisting collaboration was accepting less than is possible. I’ve got gifts, we’ve all got gifts. What good are they if I only share them with myself or my closest friends? I learned this not too terribly long ago:

I can have an idea that I think is great. Develop it and figure it’s ready to go. Then I talk it over with someone I trust and they either fill in the gaps I didn’t know were there (could be a proximity thing) or they ask questions I did not think to ask that I do or do not have the answers to. The fill-in-the-gaps is good. The question-and-answer opportunity is priceless!

Better that I have someone I trust ask tough questions and I get them covered than a potential paying client and I’m not ready to answer it. I still may not be, but I’ll be more comfortable with not having the answers to all the questions then if I had not put myself out there to practice.  Then, asking someone I know who isn’t my BFF. The emotional investment isn’t there and the questions feel more on-the-spot. Mmmm, another incredibly valuable learning tool!  And, how will I know where my next collaboration could come from if I don’t put it out there?

My learning curve is steep right now and I don’t imagine that’s going to change for awhile. That’s ok. It’s where I am and I’m usually pretty happy to be here. It was giving myself permission to be exactly where I am that lead me to some of the partnerships I’ve experienced and into the office of Julie Francis. Being where I am doesn’t mean I’m settling. It means that while I may be more in 2 hours by being what I am now – I can’t be anything else if I pretend to be anything but where I am.